Zynga hired ex-Electronic Arts veteran Frank Gibeau as its new chief executive, and the Wall Street seems to like this, pushing the game maker’s stock up 4% to $2.25 a share on its first full day of trading after the news. Along with Wall Street, game industry analysts also consider CEO Mark Pincus’ decision of hiring Gibeau as his replacement a wise decision.
Gibeau has a great track record
Joost van Dreunen, CEO of market research firm SuperData Research, noted in an emailed statement to VentureBeat that in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015, EA Mobile generated $363 million, $452 million and $524 million respectively, and he feels the growth will continue this year as well.
Gibeau has proven himself to be brave enough to take risks and face adverse consequences very smartly and ultimately “came out on top with the successful acquisition of PopCap, the rollout of Ultimate Team on mobile, and the success of The Simpsons Tapped Out,” van Dreunen said.
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Gibeau has managed EA’s transition from paid games to free-to-play mobile; therefore, he is better suited to realize the potential of the NaturalMotion acquisition in comparison with the previous management, said van Dreunen.
“Investors are going to like Gibeau taking the helm: previously at EA, he built out their mobile division to earning over $100 million per quarter,” van Dreunen said.
Will Gibeau get Zynga through?
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter also praised Gibeau’s hiring.
“I really like Frank a lot. I think Pincus stepped aside for Don Mattrick (who left Zynga in March 2015 after about a year as CEO) because the desktop social games business wasn’t playing out, and think that Don did a phenomenal job pivoting to mobile,” Pachter said.
However, Mattrick got Zynga into things that did not make much sense, such as Tiger Woods and Looney Tunes, and he also took a lot of time getting big games such as Dawn of Titans out.
And then, “Mark stepped in and streamlined the portfolio, but he’s more of a visionary than an operator,” Pachter added.
Gibeau is someone who releases games on time and has extensive experience of more than 20 years in making games, Pachter said. Mattrick has put Zynga on the right track, while Pincus kept them focused, and Gibeau “will get them over the goal line,” the analyst said optimistically.